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Paris Top 10 : Cafés and Bars

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  1. Café de Flore

    A hang-out for artists and intellectuals since the 1920s, its regulars have included Salvador Dali and Albert Camus. During World War II Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir “more or less set up house in the Flore”. Although its prices have skyrocketed, its Art Deco decor hasn’t changed and it’s still a favourite with French filmmakers and literati.

    Café de Flore
  2. Les Deux Magots

    Rival to the neighbouring Flore as the rendezvous for the 20th-century intellectual élite. Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Djuna Barnes, André Breton and Paul Verlaine were all regulars, and Picasso met his muse Dora Maar here in 1937. Similarly pricey, with outside tables facing the boulevard and the square .

    Les Deux Magots

  3. Le Petit Vendôme

    The search for the best sandwiches in Paris stops here, with bread from the award-winning Julien bakery and just the right slathering of butter with the ham or Cantal cheese. Good hot dishes too.

    • 8 rue des Capucines, 75002

    • 01 42 61 05 88

    • Closed Sat–Sun

  4. Café Marly

    Superbly situated in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre, the café offers simple but expertly prepared brasserie fare (steaks, salads, salmon tartare, sandwiches) as well as delicious cakes and pastries. The dining room has plush decor and velvet armchairs, but the best spot is under the arcade overlooking the glass pyramid and the cour Napoléon.

    • 93 rue de Rivoli, 75001

    Café Marly
  5. Café de la Paix

    A grand Parisian café with prices to match, but it’s worth a visit to enjoy the frescoed walls and sumptuous surroundings, designed by Charles Garnier, architect of the Opera House across the square . This is another Paris landmark with a string of famous past patrons, and arguably the best mille-feuille cakes in town.

    • 12 blvd des Capucines, 75008

    Café de la Paix
  6. La Closerie des Lilas

    The main restaurant here is expensive, but the bar is a good spot to soak up the atmosphere of this historic site where artists and writers from Baudelaire to Archibald MacLeish have drunk since 1808. Look out for the famous names of visitors etched on the tables. The busy brasserie also has live piano music in the evenings and attracts a chic crowd.

    La Closerie des Lilas
  7. Le Fumoir

    There are many reasons to drop into this café-bar-restaurant next to the Louvre whether it be to people watch from the terrace out front or hide out with a martini and game of backgammon in the comfy library at the back. The hot chocolate is heavenly, cocktails are expertly made and the bistro cooking shows Italian and Swedish influences.

    • 6 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 75001

    • 01 42 92 00 24

  8. Chez Jeannette

    Although the owners haven’t touched the scruffy vintage decor, this café near Gare de l’Est has now become one of the hottest hang-outs in Paris with a crowd outside to prove it. Inside, the high ceilings, mirrors and old-fashioned booths, as well as reasonably priced food, create a lively atmosphere.

    • 46 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, 75010

    • 01 47 70 30 89

    • No disabled access

  9. Le Café de l’Industrie

    Unpretentious but stylish, the Bastille café with three large rooms is decorated with everything from spears, to old film star publicity stills. The simple food, such as onion soup, is good value. Live jazz nights help to make this a popular hang-out with the locals .

  10. Jacques Mélac Bar

    A gregarious wine bar off the beaten track and full of character, with a rustic beamed ceiling hung with country hams and a vine growing around the walls. The moustached owner from Auvergne is an enthusiastic wine lover and aims to please with his reasonably priced cellar. A fun harvest festival is held in mid-September.

    • 42 rue Léon-Frot, 75011

    • Metro Charonne

    • Closed Aug

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